WITH HIS second grandmaster norm safely tucked under his belt, International Master Mark Paragua is now eyeing a place in Philippine chess history.
The 20-year-old Paragua took the measure of IM Elina Danielian of Armenia in the 14th round and penultimate round to regain solo leadership in the Alushta GM Tournament in Alushta, Ukraine.
He now has 10.5 points, half point ahead of IMs Yuriy Kuzubov of Ukraine and Roman Ovetchkin of Russia and at least two points clear of anybody else.
Kuzubov, tied with the Filipino after 13 rounds, halved the point with GM Ramil Hasangatin of Russia while Ovetchkin shocked top seed GM Vladimir Malaniuk of Ukraine to stay in the hunt for the title and a GM norm.
A victory would make Paragua the first Filipino player since the late GM Rosendo Balinas, Jr. to win a closed tournament in a former Soviet Union republic
Balinas did the trick in the Odessa tournament in 1976, earning him the GM title in the process. Malaking bonus na para sa akin kung ako ang magtsa-champion dito (Alushta GMT). Ang talagang target ko lang sa pagsali sa ganitong event eh yung GM norm, said Paragua through an email. …